Your back is one of the most important areas of your body when it comes to maintaining the range of movement and physical function that you currently have.
Preventing back pain and mobility issues by paying close attention to this aspect of your health before problems present is, of course, a good idea! In order to do this it is advisable to combine physical exercise with regular stretching.
Exercising several times a week and stretching daily will go a long way to helping alleviate any existing pain, as well as helping to protect against future problems. If you are aware that you have a pre-existing condition that could be aggravated by a new workout regime, then it is always advisable to consult your doctor before making this kind of change to your routine.
Let’s take a look at some great stretches to get started!
Knee to Chest Stretch
To do this stretch you can start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can then use both of your hands to pull your left knee close to your chest. Be sure to clench your abs as you do this and ensure your back remains flat against the floor.
Hold your body here for ten seconds and then slowly release the knee so that your left foot returns to the ground. You can then repeat the same process with the right knee, pulling it into your chest, holding for ten seconds and then releasing.
Once you have completed the stretch on both sides, then you can pull both of your knees down towards your chest at the same time and hold for ten seconds again. Repeat this entire sequence two or three times in the morning and again at night for maximum effect.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
This is a simple movement that you can do anywhere, anytime. It is a particularly good choice to utilise regularly throughout each day if you have an office job.
Begin in a seated position with your back straight and facing straight ahead. From this position you should move your shoulder blades towards each other without altering your posture.
Hold your shoulder blades here for five seconds and then release back to a neutral position. Repeat this movement three times several times a day for maximum effect.
Simple Exercises for Better Back Health
There are so many exercise to choose from that you can actually do at home with little to no equipment at all!
To do the Bridge Exercise you must first lie down on your back on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Relax the shoulders and the head, and tense your abdominal and gluteal muscles.
From this starting position you can raise your hips up off the floor, whilst keeping your shoulders and feet firmly on the ground. The shape of your body, as the name of the exercise would suggest, should resemble a bridge!
Hold your body here for five seconds before slowly lowering back down to the ground. Repeat the sequence three times at first. You can then start to hold yourself in the bridge position for longer periods of time and to do more repetitions as you progress.
To do the Partial Crunch exercise you must first lie down on your back on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You should then cross your arms across your chest, resting either hand on the opposite shoulder, or clasp your hands together behind your head.
Squeeze your abdominal muscles as you lift your body at the shoulders to bring the shoulders totally off the floor. Hold your body here for a second and then slowly return your shoulders back down to the ground. Repeat this motion ten times.
As you do this exercise, ensure that the movement is coming from your abdominals, and that you aren't driving the force from your elbows or arms. You should also make sure that both of your feet and your lower back are in contact with the floor at all times.
This exercise is great for strengthening both the muscles of the back and the abdominal muscles.
Staying Active for Life
If you are undertaking a new exercise regime then it is always a good idea to ease into it slowly. Not only does this help to keep your motivation up as you aren't taking on too much too soon, but doing so can also help to protect against injury.
At Onto Orthopedics we consider sports injuries to be one of our specialities, and if this is a problem that you experience, then you can reach out to us for a consultation and speedy diagnosis!